Latinicity is a spectacular new food experience in downtown Chicago. It’s a large Latin themed food hall with ten kitchens, a tapas restaurant, a cafe, full bar, food market, and lounge. Latinicity Food Hall & Lounge is located on North State Street on the third floor of the Block 37 mall. Latinicity is a terrific addition to Chicago’s downtown, and BSC Custom is proud to have contributed the custom lighting and signage.
The Latinicity Food Hall in Chicago has only been open for two months, but it’s already making an impact on the Chicago food scene. Latinicity is the inspired creative collaboration of Chef Richard Sandoval and Chef Jose Garces. Chef Sandoval grew up in Mexico City, and is a restaurateur, author, television personality, and world leader in Latin cuisine. Chef Garces was born in America to Ecuadorian parents, raised in Chicago, is also an author, and operates restaurants across the United States in addition to operating an organic farm. Quite the capable duo of Chefs to launch a Latin themed restaurant complex!
Let’s take a look at what Latinicity is all about, and see how BSC Custom contributed to its unique look and exciting atmosphere.
BSC Custom had previously created unique lighting for other Richard Sandoval restaurants, the Venga Venga Cantina and Tequila Bar locations in Snowmass Village, Colorado and Chula Vista, California. The existing relationship we had developed was very important, as Latinicity was a much larger project. The construction timeline was tight for the complex construction of Latinicity, and the project managers put their trust in BSC Custom to have all of the lighting and signage ready for the official opening on November 5, 2015. And we’re proud to say that our team stepped up and delivered. Everything was ready to go for their Grand Opening, and we think it looks terrific!
So how big of a project was it? Here are a few numbers to give you a sense of the project’s scope:
- 16 Custom signs, each with a unique design. Signs are a mix of illuminated and non-illuminated styles.
- 16 Menu Board signs, each with unique designs, all with down-lighting
- 202 Custom light fixtures
- 31 different types of custom light fixtures
- Almost all lighting was custom designed and built
- Included a small number of standard fixtures with customized features
Latinicity is located on the 3rd floor of the Block 37 mall on North State Street in Chicago’s historic Loop district. Interactive Street View photo.
The Latinicity Food Experience
From the Latinicity website: “A truly unique dining experience, Latinicity brings the flavors of Latin America, Spain and Portugal to the heart of Chicago.”
If you enjoy Mexican food, you’ll find that Latinicity expands your choices far beyond familiar dishes. If you’re feeling adventureous, you’ll find many of the favorite dishes enjoyed in Latin American countries, all in a single location. There are many delicious items to try from the kitchens of Latinicity’s food counters and restaurants, so it would take quite a few visits to taste them all. Latinicity has commanded a lot of attention in mainstream Chicago media, such as thisreport by NBC News at its grand opening, and a positive review by ChicagoReader. And after an incredibly busy launch weekend which saw more than 10,000 curious and hungry visitors sampling Latinicity’s flavors, they even had to temporarily close for one day to restock and reset!
Do you know some of these Latin food favorites? Here are some of the items you’ll find at Latinicity:
Tortas – Artisinal latin sandwiches
Cocas – a flatbread style of pizza from Spain
Ceviche – spicy fresh fish cured with citrus juices
Chaufa – Peruvian style stir fry
Saladero – Brazilian steaks
Arroz Aeropuerto – Peruvian street food
Mariscos – Seafood
Burguesa – Burgers, latin style
Here’s a YouTube video clip from the Chicago Sun-Times, recorded around the time of the opening. It’s an interview with Greg Howe of Richard Sandoval Restaurants, who describes the wide variety of Latin dishes offered at Latinicity.
Richard Sandoval Restaurants
Richard Sandoval Restaurants operates Latinicity and restaurants in six countries around the world, from Tokyo to Dubai. In the U.S. there are restaurants in six states, so depending where you live, there may be one near you. Here in Colorado we are fortunate to have seven to choose from, including five in Metro Denver, one in Vail and another in the Aspen area. And if you’re far from one of the restaurants, you could try your hand at some of the recipes in Richard Sandoval’s New Latin Flavors, a cookbook published in 2014 featuring more than 125 Latin dishes.
Design, Fabrication and Delivery
BSC Custom worked closely with the Latinicity team to complete this complex project. The conceptual design for the project was provided by our client’s Architect, Lazaro Rosa-Violan, in Barcelona, Spain. If you’re interested in design and architecture, have a look at his website. BSC Custom provided all of the technical design, submittals, 3D renderings, shop drawings, and the UL listing. Once the designs were approved, fabrication took place at BSC Custom’s production facility in Metro Denver. Following the delivery of the light fixtures and signs, BSC Custom assisted on-site in Chicago with staging, installation, and field coordination with the general contractor, designer, owner, electrical contractor, and other trades. As you can imagine for a project of this size, a total team effort was needed from everyone involved.
This project strongly benefited from some of BSC Custom’s key strengths:
- Ability to build complex designs on a tight schedule and limited budget and still maintain excellent quality
- Experience in value engineering designs to meet budget demands
- Ability to quickly go from concept to proposal to shop drawings and production
- Able to work on projects anywhere in the USA — design, build, and deliver
- Quickly accomodate design changes and requests for new items, all in the middle of a project
- Ability to provide UL Listed certification of both signage and lighting
- Work as a team member and project manager, not just a vendor
Custom Lighting for Latinicity
BSC Custom delivered over 200 custom light fixtures to Latinicity. There were 31 unique designs with a great variety of interesting styles. You can see in the photos how the lighting adds to the atmosphere and charm of a visit to Latinicity.
Unique Signage for Latinicity
Along with the variety of custom lighting BSC Custom provided to Latinicity, the project also required extensive custom signage. With ten kitchens in the Food Hall, along with restaurants, a lounge, and a cafe, a lot of creative custom signage was needed! BSC Custom created sixteen unique signs, including large entrance signage, some illuminated backlit signs, and signs for each of the ten kitchens in the Food Hall. We also created sixteen menu board signs, each with a unique design, and all with downlighting. Latinicity attracts a lot of visitors, so it’s essential that the signage is very clear and bright and easy to read from a distance. The signage requirements kept our designers and fabricators very busy in our production facility in Metro Denver!
You can view the full gallery of Latinicity project photos on our website.
A Team Effort
Latinicity was definitely an “all hands on deck” project for BSC Custom. We’d like to thank all of our staff for completing this project on a tight schedule. We had two weeks for preparation of shop drawings, seven weeks for production, and then immediate delivery to Chicago upon completion of the signage and light fixtures. To expedite delivery, we even sent two trucks to Chicago, loaded with signs and lighting. It was an all day trip from Denver to Chicago for some of our employees, and it helped us quickly get the completed signs and lighting to our client’s location so they were ready for installation the next day.
Latinicity was very much a “high design” project, involving a prominent restaurant developer and a world class architect working in an architecturally significant space in downtown Chicago. It was also a very public project that generated a lot of media attention in Chicago, and intense interest from the public as well. We’d like to extend a very big thank you to the Latinicity team at Richard Sandoval Restaurants. This was a very special project for us and it was a privilege to be involved.
And the next time we’re in Chicago, we’ll definitely be stopping by Latinicity to try some more Latin street food! If you’re planning a visit, be sure to visit the Latinicity website for more information.
About BSC Custom
BSC Custom Architectural and Lighting is based in Metro Denver and provides specialty fabrication services, UL Listed custom lighting, architectural etched glass signage, and specialty commercial signage. BSC Custom is a division of BSC Signs, Metro Denver’s premier full-service sign company.
BSC Custom website